Israel declares Gaza Strip truce
Israel ended its three-week offensive in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, saying it had achieved its goals against Hamas in a campaign that killed more than 1,200 Palestinians. However, Hamas warned that it was not ready to give up.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told Israelis in a televised address from the national army headquarters in Tel Aviv: "The conditions have been created that our aims, as declared, were attained fully, and beyond."
The ceasefire, which he said responded to an appeal from Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, would begin from 2 a.m. (0000 GMT) on Sunday, he said, but troops would remain for now in the Gaza Strip and Hamas would be "surprised again" if it attacked. He said Hamas was "beaten badly" and its ability to fire rockets into southern Israel had been severely limited.
Olmert stated: "The campaign has proven Israel's power and strengthened its deterrence." He also said he would work with Mubarak to tighten security on Gaza's Egyptian border.
Nonetheless, Hamas leaders said they would continue to fight for an end to Israel's closure of much of the Strip and a withdrawal of the Israeli forces from their territory. "A unilateral ceasefire does not mean ending the aggression and ending the siege. These constitute acts of war and so this will not mean an end to resistance," Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum told Reuters in Gaza.